All Our Yesterdays Documentary Series Overview (1960-1989)


Introduction

All Our Yesterdays is a television series, produced by Granada Television, giving an historical account of the 1930s lead-up to the Second World War and to the war itself.

It relied on film footage, and may be considered a precursor to the later Thames Television World at War (1973-1974) production.

Outline

The series ran weekly from 1960 to 1973 and from 1987 to 1989. The format was a studio commentary, supported by newsreel clips that had been shown in cinemas 25 years ago that week. The final series concentrated on 1939. The years to 1964 focused on the build-up to the Second World War, mixed with more lighthearted fare.

  • Began in 1960 and was presented by noted foreign correspondent James Cameron who linked together edited versions of two 1930s cinema newsreels from the same week twenty-five years ago.
  • In 1961 Dublin born journalist and historian Brian Inglis took over and it was with him that the programme became best remembered.
    • At twenty minutes each episode, it took a somewhat light-hearted look at past life.
    • However, by 1964 it took on much darker and serious overtones as it concerned itself with the rise of Nazism and ultimately the outbreak of World War Two.
  • Studio guests and newspaper articles were also used to get a flavour of the time and light relief came in the form of Daily Express cartoonist Osbert Lancaster’s satirical caricatures, the captions of which were read by actors.
  • The programme continued with the war years throughout the rest of the 1960s and in the early 1970s took a look at post war austerity and how the world (but mostly Britain) came to terms with the after-effects of the conflict.
  • The series finished its run in 1973 after thirteen years on the air.
  • In 1975 Brian Inglis wrote and narrated a unique sound archive of World War Two for the record label Cameo Classics, entitled Sounds of All Our Yesterdays.
  • The series was revived in 1987 and was presented by veteran broadcaster Bernard Braden, utilising footage from the archives of Granada, ITN and Pathe Newsreel.
  • It finally disappeared from our screens in 1989.

Presenters

  • James Cameron (1960 to 1961).
  • Brian Inglis (1961 to 1973).
  • Bernard Braden (1987 to 1989).

Trivia

  • The title of this series alludes to Macbeth’s soliloquy in Act 5 Scene 5 after Lady Macbeth’s death.
  • One wartime newsreel which found a new audience was “Hoch der Lambeth Valk”.
    • This propaganda film of a Nazi rally, with goose-stepping parades, had been re-edited, reversing some sequences, so the marchers appeared to be dancing “The Lambeth Walk”.
    • The effect became a favourite.
  • Only 47 episodes of the original series (1960-1973) survive whereas the later series (1987-1989) survives complete.
  • Referenced in Blankety Blank: Episode #7.9 (1984) in which Les claims that the collection of celebrities “isn’t a panel… it’s a remake of All Our Yesterdays”.
  • Referenced in Still Game: Shooglies (2003); Mentioned by Jack.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
  • Producer(s):
    • Bill Grundy … producer.
    • Tim Hewat … producer.
    • Jeremy Isaacs … producer.
    • Mike Murphy … producer (1987-1989).
    • David Plowright … producer.
    • Douglas Terry … producer.
  • Writer(s):
  • Music:
  • Cinematography:
  • Editor(s):
  • Production:
    • Granada Television.
  • Distributor:
    • ITV – Independent Television (all media).
  • Release Date:
    • 1960 to 1973.
    • 1987 to 1989.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 20 minutes (per episode).
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

Video Link(s)

Currently unavailable.

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